SBD/December 3, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Kobe Bryant Responds To Mixed Reviews For Nike's New Kobe 8 Shoe

Bryant's 'Kobe 8s' will be released in stores Dec. 20 and will retail for $140
As Nike introduces Lakers G Kobe Bryant’s Kobe 8 shoe, “people either love the low-top look or hate it,” according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Consumers “love the fact that it's a ‘system’ that comes with four midsole options,” or they “hate it, dismissing it as a gimmick.” Fans can “begin designing and saving their Kobe 8 on NIKEID” tomorrow and “can actually order their designs on Dec. 20, the same day the Kobe 8s hit retail (priced at $140).” Bryant said, “I think this version is lighter and more comfortable. The mesh allows for us to use a lighter material, but also provides me and consumers with the strength and stability that we need.” With regard to the mixed Twitter reaction on the shoe's design, Bryant said, “I'd rather do something that moves people than be right down the middle. You don't get anywhere with a blah, vanilla product. It's like good art. You like it or you don't. I'm fine with that” (ESPN.com, 11/30).

MAYBE IT WAS THE ROSES: In N.Y., Ben Strauss wrote a TV commercial featuring Bulls G Derrick Rose as part of adidas' "The Return" campaign that shows Rose's recovery from last season's ACL injury “teases viewers, almost like a parlor trick.” The scene in the commercial “in which Rose returns to the court was filmed at the United Center,” and has a “surreal quality: part simulation, part dream.” But when the ad ends, "fantasy’s narrative gives way to the incomplete story arc of reality.” The Bulls are “a .500 team, and Rose remains months from a return to the court.” Reggie Rose, Derrick Rose’s brother and manager, said, “I can see how it can be mind-boggling for fans to go from seeing the commercial and he’s back, and then the game is back and he’s not.” Strauss wrote, “Until Rose returns, his career, his team -- and, yes, his sponsor -- are in limbo, hoping to follow the script that has been written.” Reggie Rose said of adidas' series of online videos featuring Derrick Rose, “You have to keep the athlete relevant. We can’t be asking, Whatever happened to Derrick Rose?” Strauss noted the campaign has been “a hit, drawing attention on local and national NBA shows and digitally.” The videos have “more than five million views on YouTube, and according to Twitter, the hashtag #thereturn has been used more than 200,000 times since Aug. 1” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/2).
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